Queen Anne furniture is still prevalent in homes today. A style popular in the American colonial period, graceful curves and ornate features make this furniture stand out, still. Though Queen Anne herself was not involved in the designing of Queen Anne furniture, it was named for her, and later became popular in both England and America.
Queen Anne, who ruled England, Scotland and Ireland, and who was the last queen of the English and the Scots, died before Queen Anne furniture ever came about. Her death came in 1714 and Queen Anne furniture wasn't popular in America until 1720. By the 1700s, Americans starting having slightly more time for leisure and furniture became more than just a necessity. Tea tables and decorative pieces edged their way into American households.
The most recognizable feature of Queen Anne furniture is probably the leg. Named a cabriole, it looks like a bent knee at the top, then towards the bottom curves in like an ankle, and ends in a small foot. Feet may be Dutch or Spanish, in the style of three toes or rectangular curved lines, respectively. According to the Antiques Almanac, "The single most important decoration of Queen Anne furniture was the carved cockle or scallop shell" resembling a fan. These are most often found on the knee of a leg or the top of a chair.
One of the most important aspects of the Queen Anne design is the lightness of the furniture in comparison with the previously popular William and Mary furniture. The wood was generally of walnut, cherry, maple or mahogany. Tea tables and card cables became popular Queen Anne pieces in American households. The gaming tables of the early 18th century can be compared to bridge tables today. Similar to the design of the card tables, drop-leaf tables became the convenient, efficient type of table because of their ability to save space by dropping the leaves, or sides of the tables.
Popularity and Society
Queen Anne furniture was most popular in America from about 1720 to 1760 says Thomas Hamilton Ormsbee of "Collectors Weekly". In fact, American Queen Anne furniture is slightly different from English Queen Anne furniture. American Queen Anne pieces were less ornate and were generally made between the states of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and Massachusetts. With the new popularity of Chinese tea in America, tea tables grew in demand as well. Since at this time the general American public was financially comfortable, buying furniture for its beauty became more common.
No one person is named as the creator of Queen Anne furniture. Queen Anne was interested in arts and hired people to design furniture for her. Some important designers that influence her furniture were: Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and The Adams Brothers.
- Photo Credit traditional style accent chair image by James Phelps from Fotolia.com
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